Chandler Woods Charter Academy students have been talking about the Winter Olympics in many of their classes. They've discussed the practice it takes to compete, the dedication, and, most importantly, the courage of the athletes.
On Wednesday, Feb. 21, students were surprised with a special guest, Ms. Lisa Brown-Miller, who talked about starting hockey at a young age and her time competing in the 1998 Winter Olympics.
“When I first told my parents, I wanted to play hockey, there were no girls playing, but they let me try,” Brown-Miller told students. “The boys at the rink, and even some of the parents, would tell me I should go figure skate—that’s what all the girls did.”
She talked about pursuing hockey because it was her passion. A passion that eventually led her to the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
“I was the oldest player on the team,” said Brown-Miller. “I was a 31-year-old playing with 15, 16, 17, and 18-year-olds.
“When we ended up in the final game, we were the underdog to Canada,” she said. “Do you all know what it means to be the underdog? It took a lot of courage to play that game, and it paid off.”
At the end of the assembly, Brown-Miller brought out her Olympic jacket, USA jersey, kimono (a gift from Japan), her Wheaties (cereal) box, and the top surprise—her gold medal.
“It’s really heavy,” said the lucky student who got to wear the medal. She described it for the gym full of her peers. “It has the Olympic logo she talked about on the front and on the back, people playing hockey.”
Brown-Miller concluded the courage assembly with a simple message.
“Don’t forget to pursue your passion—it does not have to land you in the Olympics—but if it does, that’s okay, too. Just have courage and work hard, that is what is important.”